Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while highlighting the three-year progress of the Centre's Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) stated that most people perceived it to be a 'usual' Government scheme that is being 'half-heartedly implemented'.
"When we launched the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana three years ago, we were not sure of the extent of its impact. It was only taken up on a mission mode, as India had not fully registered the potential impact of financial inclusion. I, too, wasn't sure of the impact of it. It came at a time when banking was just a prerogative of a small section of society, with almost 42 percent of India being excluded from it," said Jaitley while delivering the keynote address at the Conclave on Financial Inclusion organised by the United Nations in India.
Discussing the progress of the scheme, Jaitley said 30 crore new accounts were opened under this scheme, with increasing number of accounts available to women and other backwards sections of the society.
However, their volunteers took up a door-to-door approach of encouraging rural dwellers to open bank accounts, explaining additional incentives like the availability of a RuPay card, insurance benefits and more.
Adding to this, the Centre's Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana also assisted 8.77 crore under the scheme by provisioning small loans and financing small businesses, adding that the recipients of these have been women and vulnerable sections, outside the financial inclusion scheme.
Depicting the reduction of cash quantum in the economy post demonetisation, Jaitley said it has helped in aiding and expanding financial inclusion, tax base and integrating the formal and informal economy.
"Financial inclusion has now become a keen agenda of the Centre. Further, with the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will make formalisation beneficial," he said.
"In a move to incentivize the process, the Centre and the LIC of India have brought out two insurance schemes and one pension scheme, directly linked to these accounts," he added.
"Over a 100 million people have been included in this scheme so far, whereby upon paying a premium of Rs.1 per month, beneficiaries can avail accident insurance worth Rs. 2 lakh. Upon paying a slightly higher premium, beneficiaries can avail full time death insurance as well," said Jaitley.
Such schemes, Jaitley said must directly reach the back accounts of those it has been targeted towards, adding that untargeted subsidy can lead to wastage and the idea of state subsidy for financial support will lose meaning.